Coupon 101: Where Do I Find Coupons?

A common question I get from many newbie couponers is, where do I find coupons?  There are many different types of coupons, and you should take advantage of them ALL!

The bigger your coupon stash, the bigger your savings!  In order to maximize your savings, you need to build a stockpile that’s suitable for your family.  In order to build that stockpile, you need to get your hands on enough coupons to purchase the items your family needs in large quantities, when they are at their rock-bottom price.

  • The Sunday Newspaper – Your Sunday paper is still the primary and most reliable place to find coupons.  Your best bet is to subscribe to home delivery, and to subscribe to MULTIPLE copies.  I recommend 4-6 newspapers a week (1 per family member is a good guide).  Why?  Because you’ll get 4-6 of each coupon that comes out that week!  If peanut butter hits a rock bottom price, you’ll have enough coupons to purchase enough to last your family until that rock bottom price rolls around again (about 3 months)!  A Sunday-only subscription should be very reasonable, and it will very likely pay for itself in ONE shopping trip.  You will save HUNDREDS of dollars a month.  HUNDREDS.  (You can find discount newspaper subscriptions right here on this site… CLICK HERE)  If you want to save the maximum amount each month – get yourself multiple Sunday papers!
  • Clipping Services – There are several sources on the web that sell pre-clipped coupons, and even full inserts.  This is a great way to obtain additional coupons for items that you are trying to build a stockpile for.  I typically will purchase additional coupons for items that my family consumes every day.  This is also a great way to get your hands on some of the regional coupons that may not have been available in your local paper.  For example, if your region received a $1/2 coupon on pasta sauce, and other regions received a $1/1 coupon, it might be worth it to purchase the $1/1 if it’s an item that you consume regularly!  NEVER pay for coupons unless you are going to use them.  Also be careful to watch the expiration dates and sale dates to make sure you’ll have time to use them.
  • Internet Printable Coupons – Nearly all stores accept Internet coupons.  There are several sources for internet coupons, the most popular sites being: Coupons.comSmartSource, RedPlum, Hopster and Common Kindness.  The downside to internet coupons is that they have print limits.  In most cases, you can print (2) copies of each coupon from each computer.  However, the manufacturers’ also put an overall print limit on each offer, so if you see something you want or need, your best to print it right away before it runs out of prints.
  • Electronic Coupons or E-Coupons -E-Coupons are the newest form of coupons available today.  These require no clipping or printing, but instead are loaded directly to your store loyalty cards.  There are several sources for e-Coupons, including SavingStar, PGeSaver, and my new favorites… Ibotta and Checkout 51!  You can also find e-Coupons on many of the grocery store sites, such as Kroger (Ralphs in SoCal), and Safeway (Vons in SoCal).
  • Catalina Coupons – These are coupons that are generated during checkout.  You’ve probably seen the gray square machines at the registers at some of the stores you shop in.  They print out long, receipt-like coupons or advertisements at the end of your transaction.  Always pay attention to what the cashier hands you at the end of your transaction.  You wouldn’t dream of throwing away MONEY, would you?  Coupons are money!  Catalina coupons can be tied to a specific product (i.e. $1/1 Jar Skippy Peanut Butter) or they can be store specific (i.e. $2.00 Off Your Next Shopping Trip, Courtesy of Skippy).  The latter can be combined with manufacturer coupons and can be used to purchase almost anything in the store (restrictions may apply to items like alcohol, tobacco, etc.).  Catalina Coupons can be advertised offers, or completely random.
  • Blinkies – These are manufacturers coupons that are dispensed from the small automatic machines that are found in stores on the grocery aisles, etc.  The dispensers are usually affixed to the shelves, or attached to the refrigerator/freezer cases, near the product they are advertising.  We call them ‘Blinkies’ because they usually have a flashing red light on them that flashes as it dispenses the coupons, one at a time.  Since these are manufacturer coupons, you can use them at ANY store, not just the one you found the coupon in!
  • Tearpads – Tearpads just as they sound… a pad of manufacturer’s coupons found near the product being advertised.  These too, are manufacturer coupons, and may be used at any store for the product referenced in the coupon.
  • Peelies – These are manufacturer coupons that are attached to a product’s packaging.  You will need to ‘peel’ the coupon off of the package in order to redeem it.  However, you do NOT have to redeem it right away (you may have a better coupon in your binder), or even on the specific product, it was attached to.  Read the coupon terms and use it as you would any other coupon type.  Often times it is best to purchase the smallest size that the coupon allows in order to maximize your savings.
  • Store Coupons – A store coupon is a discount from the STORE or Retailer vs. the manufacturer.  Unlike manufacturer coupons, this comes out of the store’s profit.  Often these are found in the weekly circulars (i.e. Vons or Walgreens.)  You may also find store coupons on the store’s website.  For example, Target offers several STORE coupons on their site, and they also have a brand new Target Cartwheel program for even more savings!  Manufacturer’s coupons very clearly state ‘manufacturer coupon’ on them.  If they are not labeled as a manufacturer coupon, it is almost a guarantee that it’s a Store coupon.  We LOVE store coupons!   You are allowed to STACK (use more than 1 coupon on the same item) them with a manufacturer coupon for extreme savings!
  • Coupon Database – I have a great coupon database right HERE on this site!  Looking for a coupon for something that isn’t on sale or included in my weekly match-ups?  Be sure to search the database!  The database includes coupons from various sources… inserts, printable, electronic, package inserts… you name it!

 

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Comments

  1. Dorothy Boucher says

    wow i guess i have so much to learn about couponing, i know my daughter does this i am still a noob , but thanks for your tips and will be back to learn more now that i found your page 😉 again Thanks @tisonlyme143

  2. Stephanie Thompson says

    I needed Coupon 101 cause I was having trouble in some areas of couponing and I knew I could get better deals than I was, now to get organized.

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